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Correlated k-Distribution Treatment of Cloud Optical Properties and Related Radiative Impact

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  • 1 Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, Beijing, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Nanjing, and Laboratory for Climate Studies, National Climate Center, Beijing, China
  • | 2 Laboratory for Climate Studies, National Climate Center, Beijing, China
  • | 3 Canadian Center for Climate Modeling and Analysis, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
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Abstract

A new scheme of water cloud optical properties is proposed for correlated k-distribution (CKD) models, in which the correlation in spectral distributions between the gaseous absorption coefficient and cloud optical properties is maintained. This is an extension of the CKD method from gas to cloud by dealing with the gas absorption coefficient and cloud optical properties in the same way.

Compared to the results of line-by-line benchmark calculations, the band-mean cloud optical property scheme can overestimate cloud solar heating rate, with a relative error over 30% in general. Also, the error in the flux at the top of the atmosphere can be up to 20 W m−2 at a solar zenith angle of 0°. However, the error is considerably reduced by applying the new proposed CKD cloud scheme. The physical explanation of the large error for the band-mean cloud scheme is the absence of a spectral correlation between the gaseous absorption coefficient and the cloud optical properties. The overestimation of the solar heating rate at the cloud-top layer could affect the moisture circulation and limit the growth of cloud. It is found that the error in the longwave cooling rate caused by the band-mean cloud scheme is very small. In the infrared, the local thermal emission strongly affects the spectral distribution of the radiative flux, which makes the correlation between the gaseous absorption coefficient and cloud optical properties very weak. Therefore, there is no obvious advantage in emphasizing the spectral correlation between gas and cloud.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Jiangnan Li, Canadian Center for Climate Modeling and Analysis, University of Victoria, P.O. Box 3065, Victoria BC V8W 3V6, Canada. E-mail: jiangnan.li@ec.gc.ca

Abstract

A new scheme of water cloud optical properties is proposed for correlated k-distribution (CKD) models, in which the correlation in spectral distributions between the gaseous absorption coefficient and cloud optical properties is maintained. This is an extension of the CKD method from gas to cloud by dealing with the gas absorption coefficient and cloud optical properties in the same way.

Compared to the results of line-by-line benchmark calculations, the band-mean cloud optical property scheme can overestimate cloud solar heating rate, with a relative error over 30% in general. Also, the error in the flux at the top of the atmosphere can be up to 20 W m−2 at a solar zenith angle of 0°. However, the error is considerably reduced by applying the new proposed CKD cloud scheme. The physical explanation of the large error for the band-mean cloud scheme is the absence of a spectral correlation between the gaseous absorption coefficient and the cloud optical properties. The overestimation of the solar heating rate at the cloud-top layer could affect the moisture circulation and limit the growth of cloud. It is found that the error in the longwave cooling rate caused by the band-mean cloud scheme is very small. In the infrared, the local thermal emission strongly affects the spectral distribution of the radiative flux, which makes the correlation between the gaseous absorption coefficient and cloud optical properties very weak. Therefore, there is no obvious advantage in emphasizing the spectral correlation between gas and cloud.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Jiangnan Li, Canadian Center for Climate Modeling and Analysis, University of Victoria, P.O. Box 3065, Victoria BC V8W 3V6, Canada. E-mail: jiangnan.li@ec.gc.ca
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